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Dr John Hawkins

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That Karaoke Bar Again

Posted on 2006/02/04 03:23:40 (February 2006).

[Friday 3rd February]
My manager's last night in town could mean only one thing - another trip to that karaoke bar in Shinjuku.

Me and a group of colleagues kicked off the evening in a cafe/bar place called Pronto. It is quite a big chain here in Japan, so whilst by rights I ought to find these establishments soulless and boring, I have to profess something of a liking for it. We had a few of their "bronze beers" and some very nice nibbles - I particularly enjoyed the spicy potatoes. Yummy!

The atmosphere was great even in this first place - I think our team just carried that in with us. We have developed a healthy banter between me and my American colleagues on the natural choice of conversation between any mixed group of UK and US people: which is correct, British English or American English? Inevitably this devolved into a somewhat juvenile discussion on swear words, which was just great, given that our company often tells us we apparently represent the top 2% of engineers in the industry. Yet there we were looking up "shit" in the dictionary. Priceless.

You know, I don't think we talked about work once all evening.

Two of my colleagues brought their significant others along for the evening, and I was determined to show Chie this karaoke place, so after a bit of arm twisting she agreed to join us too. Chie came along to Pronto with us, then went off to see a friend for a while, which made for some slightly complex logistics, as by the time she had finished seeing her friend we had all gone over to the karaoke bar.

So the karaoke bar was really buzzing, totally full, but just enough room to comfortably squeeze our group in. I was persuaded by my boss to put my "standard" song on, and then shortly after I got a call from Chie to go and meet her at the station and show her the way to the karaoke place.

The timing was immaculate, at exactly the moment I returned the intro of The Proclaimer's I'm Gonna Be had just started, and I walked back through the door leading Chie by the hand, with a triumphant cry of "MIC KUDASAI!!", which seemed to prompt a spontaneous round of applause. It's quite an amazing feeling to be applauded by a load of people you don't know just for walking through a door and asking for a microphone. I guess this is a little bit like how rock stars must feel when they get on stage!

I don't think I've ever given a better rendition of that song. It was a great feeling to be able to sing it for Chie (she's often not there when I go to karaoke) and in front of an audience (rather than the usual karaoke booth type of place). I put a huge amount of energy into it, and at the end got another big round of applause (not by any means the norm in that bar). All my life I have thought I am a terrible, terrible singer, and so it is hard to say just how great it felt to have bathed in the illusion that actually I could more or less hold a tune.

Later on I did another song - Radiohead's No Alarms, No Surprises - another karaoke favourite of mine, and was complimented on my performance by the people sitting next to me. I began to wonder if the occupants of this bar been bribed or something, but even if they had I didn't care, it was such a nice illusion to bathe in. This French guy then asked me to join in with him for a couple of U2 songs, which probably dented my record a little, but hopefully as I was only there as backup I wasn't so noticeable.

I think the jury is still out as far as Chie's opinion of this very special bar goes, but I at least was really pleased to have her there for the evening, whilst I indulged my ego and felt a little bit like a minor celebrity.

Comment 1

I always thought you capable of great things. But a Hawkins/Hopkinson descendant capable of actually singing in tune rather blows gene theory to bits!

Posted by Mum at 2006/02/04 07:52:41.

Comment 2

John .. I am proud of you .....
well done ... lookng forward to enjoying hearing your now famous Proclaimers rendition ( do you have to wear those extra thick glasses to really get into the part ?) .. of course the Scots ancestry helps greatly ....

From a close relation who sings all of the time (and almost entirely in tune so I am told) ... even it is only mostly hymns and psalms ....

Posted by The Rev. at 2006/02/04 20:00:48.

Comment 3

You indulge your ego everyday, confiding you day-to-day deeds to the entire world through your blog. You are what I would call *un nombriliste doublé d'un exhibitionniste* (i.e. an egocentric as well as an exhibitionist). ;-)

Posted by Sheri at 2006/02/05 19:37:31.

Comment 4

You know that you have to schedule a night with me at the karaoke do you? I hope thta you are going to be in Japan this time at least... do you know already your plans in the second half of March?

Posted by Lox at 2006/02/05 21:03:37.

Comment 5

You know that you have to schedule a night with me at the karaoke do you? I hope thta you are going to be in Japan this time at least... do you know already your plans in the second half of March?

Posted by Lox at 2006/02/05 21:04:35.

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